Ht: 6’1″ Wt: 190, B-T: L-R
Acquired: Drafted 4th round in 2014 out of NC State
FutureSox Prospect Rankings
- Interview, May 2015
- Interview (from Blogger Call), June 2015
- All FutureSox articles tagged Brett Austin
- FutureSox Hitter of the Month, April 2015
- 2015 South Atlantic League All Star
Taken three rounds after NC State battery-mate Carlos Rodon, Austin signed for $450,000, which was $35,000 below slot. He had previously been drafted 54th overall in 2011 by San Diego, but he elected to go to college instead. In those three college years, he had a solid freshman campaign, a mediocre sophomore year, and then was strong his last/junior year (.344/.414/.516, 27 BB vs 29 K in 219 PA) in boosting his draft stock. In his pro debut with Kannapolis (he skipped rookie ball), Austin posted a .235/.314/.314 line with 18 walks and 47 strikeouts in 178 PA – the contact rate and lack of power were a concern for a player seen as fairly polished with the bat, though it was an aggressive assignment and he did draw some walks. In 2015 he repeated at Kanny, and actually saw his hitting numbers decline in 85 games: .201/.284/.317, with a slightly higher walk rate but also more strikeouts. More puzzling, he had a red-hot April but hit well under .200 for the rest of the season. A late-season promotion to Winston-Salem gave him 9 games of action and he didn’t hit much there either. In 2016, Austin was back in Winston-Salem, where again he hit around .200, though the hitter-friendly BB&T Ballpark agreed with him as he hit 9 long balls. In 2017, Austin is in Birmingham, playing half-time.
Offensively he has some speed but not much power, and neither tool is expected to play above average – plate discipline and a strong hit tool will be his best carrying attributes at the plate if he succeeds, but so far those haven’t shown. Defensively he may not stick at catcher, where he’s shown a good arm but the receiving skills aren’t as strong. If he shows enough intrigue with the bat, he may have the athleticism to play in the outfield down the line (he played some games there in college as well).
Major League Outlook: OBP-dependent backup catcher
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